NEW YORK, May 20, 2014—Less than two months after the official launch of Generation Study Abroad, the Institute of International Education has announced significant progress in advancing the major goals of the initiative. IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative now has over 300 commitment partners—double the number who had signed on by the March 3 launch date. The 150 new partners who have committed to specific, actionable goals to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad include colleges and universities of all sizes and types across the country, as well as study abroad organizations, foreign governments, and associations. Noteworthy commitments to action in this round include new scholarships and financial assistance to help students pay for study abroad, and new initiatives to reach out to underserved groups and increase the diversity of the student population that goes abroad. IIE has also begun to provide additional resources and services to campuses that have joined as commitment partners, to help them reach their ambitious goals.
New Partners: A total of 308 partners have joined Generation Study Abroad. They include: 241 U.S. colleges and universities from 46 states; 9 non-U.S. institutions; 13 education associations; 34 study abroad organizations; 11 U.S. and foreign government entities, including the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The next deadline for joining Generation Study Abroad is October 15.
Financial Commitments: Tangible commitments will address the financial obstacles that have been identified as a barrier to study abroad. More than half of the U.S. colleges and universities who have joined are leveraging their participation in Generation Study Abroad to secure new study abroad scholarship funding for their own institutions’ students by establishing or expanding study abroad endowments, reaching out to study abroad alumni and fundraising from donors. In addition, other Generation Study Abroad commitments to date include scholarships and grants from AIFS, SIAS International University in China, and Education New Zealand; scholarships and training for faculty from EF College Study Tours; and funding for partnerships from the French and Norwegian governments.
Expanding Diversity in Study Abroad: Generation Study Abroad has made increasing diversity a major platform in its call to action as it urges partners to work not only on increasing the numbers but also in changing the perception of study abroad. About 50% of all commitment partner campuses and organizations, including Mobility International USA, have pledged to take specific action to address student diversity and minority participation in study abroad. More than 20 Minority Serving Institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) have joined the initiative to date. Campuses of all types are increasing outreach to underrepresented groups through peer-to-peer advising, developing programs to reach specific groups (to increase participation among males, first generation students, STEM students, veterans, students with disabilities, etc.), and attract more economically disadvantaged students to apply for institutional grants, the U.S. Department of State’s Gilman International Scholarships, and other funding opportunities.
Training and Resources: IIE is providing a complimentary institutional eBook license for “A Student Guide to Study Abroad” to campuses who join, so they can provide their students with this comprehensive guide at no cost. IIE is also conducting a series of webinars to provide advice and best practices to help commitment partners help their students and reach their goals. In fall 2014 The Forum on Education Abroad will make available to Generation Study Abroad partners an exclusive version of its Quality Improvement Program (QUIP) to provide partners with strategies to meet their goals for increasing the number of their study abroad students.
Generation Study Abroad at NAFSA Conference: IIE invites all Generation Study Abroad partners and interested parties to visit the photo station at IIE’s booth at the annual conference of NAFSA: Association of International Educators to take part in the “#GenerationStudyAbroad” social media campaign. Those who have already joined as Commitment Partners can pick up their certificates, while interested organizations and individuals can get information and sign up for updates. At the conference, IIE will hold a drawing for free registrations for the 2015 Generation Study Abroad Summit.
Inviting Contributions to Green Paper on Think Tank Outcomes: As the first step in bringing stakeholders from different sectors together to achieve large-scale change, IIE convened a one-day Think Tank on March 12 on what it will take to double study abroad, gathering invited leaders from the public, private and educational sectors at its New York headquarters. The community is invited to view the “green paper” documenting the outcomes of that discussion and offer comments and new ideas, through September 1. IIE will publish the paper this fall, with the addition of input from readers.
- IIE Passport Awards for Study Abroad will provide supplemental grants for students from inner-city high schools to study abroad when they are in college (details and winners will be announced in June). IIE will also publish a Parent’s Guide to Study Abroad, in partnership with AIFS.
- Conducting Research. IIE’s research team is developing a research agenda for topics that will be most useful to helping campuses increase study abroad participation. EF College Study Tours will make up to 10 grants of $5,000 available (for a total commitment of $50,000) in the fall of 2014 to explore the impact of short-term faculty-led study abroad programs on students, faculty, and institutions. Terra Dotta will support research on the impact of technology and finance on study abroad, and SIT Study Abroad will publish a report on the impact of study abroad on students’ lives and careers.
- Planning for 2015 Generation Study Abroad Summit. IIE will convene its first annual Generation Study Abroad Summit, which will bring commitment partners together in fall 2015.
- Teachers, Alumni and Students. Later this year, IIE will launch a teacher engagement campaign and work with teachers and K-12 organizations, such as the American Council of Foreign Language Teachers, OneWorld Now!, and the College Board to help create a pipeline of students who plan to study abroad when they are in college; targets of the five-year initiative include mobilizing 1,000 high school teachers and engaging 10,000 alumni and students.
About Generation Study Abroad
Building on its nearly 100-year commitment to study abroad, IIE launched Generation Study Abroad because the number and proportion of today’s students who graduate with an educational experience abroad is far too low. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic career. According to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange released by IIE last November with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 295,000 students studied abroad in 2011/12 in credit-bearing and non-credit programs. Generation Study Abroad aims to grow participation in study abroad so that the annual total reported will reach 600,000 by the end of the decade. IIE will lead the Generation Study Abroad coalition in creating an ongoing dialogue about the need for students to gain international experience. This will include research to identify and break down barriers hindering students from studying abroad, communications to share strategies and best practices, and fundraising to mobilize additional financial resources. In addition to significantly expanding study abroad, the campaign will track campus activities that expand diversity in race and ethnicity, academic disciplines and gender. Visit the Generation Study Abroad website for details on how to Join the Campaign.